Homemade Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Oatmeal Pop-Tarts

pop tart post 1b

If you’re thinking  “too much trouble” —don’t go away just yet! Are you dough challenged? Never fear! I have devised an easy method for making these deliciously flaky and tasty pop-tarts with you in mind. How does this sound?

  • No rolling out sticky dough with flour everywhere.
  • No wondering if your dough is too thick or too thin.
  • No need to transfer assembled pop-tarts from board to cooking sheet with a spatula.

The only special equipment you will need are 2 zippered gallon-size plastic bags (commonly referred to as Ziplocks) and parchment paper.

Homemade pop-tarts are a special treat and/or fun project to do with your kids, grandkids or a class. Consider letting them help. Other reasons to make your own pop-tarts  include:

  • Ability to vary ingredients according to your tastes.
  • Ability to control portion size.
  • Ability to adjust ingredients so you won’t feel guilty about feeding them to your kids or indulging yourself. Notice the whole wheat flour, oatmeal, raisins and buttermilk or yogurt. I wouldn’t call these “healthy” but they aren’t bad–see stats at the end. ( This is for you, Staci)
  • Unsurpassed freshness.
  • Convenient–can be frozen for easy baking when needed.
  • Adaptable for breakfast or dessert, kids or adults. If you think pop-tarts are for kids only, try breaking a pop-tart in two and layer with whipped cream and strawberries for a delicious form of strawberry shortcake. Or serve them with ice cream as seen here.

strawberry shortcake with poptarts

This is an original recipe. I can’t even count how many pop-tarts I’ve made in the past few weeks. A few observations may be helpful:

1. Most recipes I’ve seen on the internet have more fat than my conscience or waist can tolerate. But it cannot be avoided entirely. Pop-tarts are, after all, just pie crust with a little bit of filling. I chose to use shortening (stick form stored in freezer is SO convenient) because it makes a flakier product than all butter. But if you are averse to shortening, you can substitute butter with good results.  BE SURE you freeze the tarts first before baking or they will turn in to a melty, greasy mess.

2. The flour is also negotiable. I used part White Whole Wheat because of its mild flavor and better behavior in pastry. Regular whole wheat tasted too much like cardboard. The oatmeal lends a wonderful nutty flavor.

3. You don’t have to have a food processor but it makes for much faster mixing. If making dough by hand, I recommend you use oat flour instead of oatmeal. Mix dough the same way you would a traditional pie crust.

4. Thanks to Smitten Kitchen for giving me a starting point regarding the brown sugar-cinnamon filling. Raisins are optional. Dates would be awesome too. Chopping them finely will fool most raisin haters and keep your tarts from being lumpy.

5. Also thanks to Dorie Greenspan for giving me the idea to roll out sticky dough inside a plastic bag. I use the same method with my Pink Shortbread Cookies and Chocolate Ravioli.

Directions: (See complete recipe below)

 

mixing cinnamon filling

Add all ingredients for filling to food processor bowl and process for 1 minute or until raisins are chopped fairly small. Pour into small bowl and set aside.

 

dough in food processor

Combine oatmeal and flours in bowl of food processor and process for 15-20 seconds. Add shortening and butter and pulse 12-15 times. Mixture should be coarse. Don’t go too far with this. You should have small but visible fat lumps throughout.

In another small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg. Pour over flour mixture and pulse 5-7 times. Remove lid and blade.  Use hands or spatula to press dough together.  All crumbs should come together into a ball.

rolling out dough in plastic bag

Divide dough in half and place each in a separate gallon-size zippered plastic bag. Place dough ball at the center of the bag. Begin to roll out with dough remaining in plastic bag. Roll dough evenly to all four corners. Open bag and re-close to remove air or wrinkles. Flip bag and roll on reverse side to help with wrinkles. Try to roll it as evenly as possible. Holding the bag up to a window or light will show you where the dough may be too thin or thick. Place flat dough in freezer. Repeat process with second dough ball.

cutting dough squares

Divide dough in half and place each in a separate gallon-size zippered plastic bag. Place dough ball at the center of the bag. Begin to roll out with dough remaining in plastic bag. Roll dough evenly to all four corners. Open bag and re-close to remove air or wrinkles. Flip bag and roll on reverse side to help with wrinkles. Try to roll it as evenly as possible. Holding the bag up to a window or light will show you where the dough may be too thin or thick. Place flat dough in freezer. Repeat process with second dough ball.

Assembling pop tarts

When squares are frozen hard, take from freezer. Remove plastic from 12 squares and divide between 2 cookie sheets that have been covered with parchment paper. Place spoonful of filling in the middle of each square. Remove plastic from remaining 12 squares. and place one on top of each square with filling. If at any point, dough becomes unmanageable, return it to the freezer until hard. Seal squares with a fork.

 

freezing pop tarts

At this point you can bake them or freeze them. If freezing, place tarts in the freezer on a cookie sheet unwrapped until frozen hard. Cut paper around each pop tart and place in plastic container or bag with paper still attached.
When ready to bake, place pop-tart with attached parchment paper on a cookie sheet and bake immediately.

frosting pop tarts

Bake in oven preheated to 425 degrees F for 15-20 minutes. If you plan to toast later, bake only until very lightly browned. Otherwise, bake until golden brown. Frost if desired when cooled.

 

Brody eating poptart

Brody, the son of my friend Staci, mentioned above, gives his approval.

Filling Variations: Try thick jelly or preserves–but expect it to leak a bit during baking. Check out the picture below for an awesome filling using a slice of cold cream cheese and a spoonful of blueberry preserves or lemon curd. You might call them “Cheesecake Pop-Tarts.” Not sure if your kids will like them but adults go crazy for them.

jam and cream cheese pop tart

Homemade Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Oatmeal Pop-Tarts
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast, Dessert
Serves: 12 poptarts
Ingredients
  • ½ cup quick-cooking oats (not instant or old-fashioned)
  • ½ cup white whole wheat flour (milder and better for pastry than regular whole wheat)
  • 1 cup all-purpose, unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ⅓ cup cold or frozen shortening (if you are averse to shortening, butter may be substituted. Pop-tarts should be frozen before baking, however.)
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter (chopped)
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk or plain fat-free yogurt
Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Raisin Filling
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons flour
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 generous tablespoon raisins (optional)
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients for filling to food processor bowl and process for 1 minute or until raisins are chopped fairly small. Pour into small bowl and set aside.
  2. Combine oatmeal and flours in bowl of food processor and process for 15-20 seconds. Add shortening and butter and pulse 12-15 times. Mixture should be coarse. Don’t go too far with this. You should have small but visible fat lumps throughout.
  3. In another small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg. Pour over flour mixture and pulse 5-7 times. Remove lid and blade. Use hands or spatula to press dough together. All crumbs should come together into a ball.
  4. Divide dough in half and place each in a separate gallon-size zippered plastic bag. Place dough ball at the center of the bag. Begin to roll out with dough remaining in plastic bag. Roll dough evenly to all four corners. Open bag and re-close to remove air or wrinkles. Flip bag and roll on reverse side to help with wrinkles. Try to roll it as evenly as possible. Holding the bag up to a window or light will show you where the dough may be too thin or thick. Place flat dough in freezer. Repeat process with second dough ball.
  5. Fourth: When frozen hard, remove one bag of dough from freezer. Let warm 2 minutes , + or -. Dough should not be so hard it breaks, but also not soft. Use kitchen shears to trim all 4 edges of zippered bag. Use pizza cutter or knife to lightly mark cutting lines for 12 equal rectangular pieces. Without removing from bag, cut apart with kitchen shears. Do in this order:Cut bag in half. Cut each of those halves in half length-wise so you now have 4 long strips.Cut each of the 4 long strips into 3 equal lengths.
  6. Place squares in freezer and repeat Step 4 with second bag. Place those squares back in the freezer for a few minutes until completely hard.
  7. When squares are frozen hard, take from freezer. Remove plastic from 12 squares and divide between 2 cookie sheets that have been covered with parchment paper. Place spoonful of filling in the middle of each square. Remove plastic from remaining 12 squares. and place one on top of each square with filling. If at any point, dough becomes unmanageable, return it to the freezer until hard. Seal squares with a fork.
  8. At this point you can bake them or freeze them. If freezing, place tarts in the freezer on a cookie sheet unwrapped until frozen hard. Cut paper around each pop tart and place in plastic container or bag with paper still attached.
  9. When ready to bake, place pop-tart with attached parchment paper on a cookie sheet and bake immediately.
  10. Bake in oven preheated to 425 degrees F for 15-20 minutes. If you plan to toast later, bake only until very lightly browned. Otherwise, bake until golden brown. Frost if desired when cooled.
Notes
*Frosting: Mix ½ cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon butter or margarine and 1 tablespoon coffee (for brown color, but does not really taste like coffee) or milk.

 

Nutritional Analysis for 1 Cinnamon-Brown Sugar Oatmeal Pop-tart without frosting.
Calories 161
Total Fat 8.4 g
Saturated Fat 3.2g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 21mg
Sodium 221 mg
Total Carbohydrates 18.9g
Dietary Fiber 1.3 g
Sugars 4.9g
Protein 2.9g


Check out these recipes that also use the “Ziplock bag technique”:

Pink Shortbread Cookies

Homemade Chocolate Covered Graham Crackers

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Jacque May 5, 2010 at 11:10 pm

MMMM… loves me some pop tarts!

But I’ll bet yours are even better and no doubt infinitely healthier just from the reduction of preservatives and mystery chemicals. Bravo! they look fantastic!

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Renata May 5, 2010 at 11:48 pm

I love your method!!! I’m actually not really afraid of the flour and the sticky dough, I even enjoy it… but your method is really awesome! And they look delicious! Fantastic!

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Staci May 6, 2010 at 7:02 am

I just hit “print recipe”!!! I can’t wait to try this on my own! The samples that you brought by yesterday were delicious!!!! I really like your method for rolling the dough out. I always have a hard time getting dough rolled into a square. Now I know you’re trick!!

Thanks again for figuring this out for me! I’m so excited about experimenting with different fillings and letting the boys help make them!

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Cristine May 6, 2010 at 7:27 am

Those look great! I’ll have to give these a try with my kiddos!

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Staci May 6, 2010 at 7:54 am

Here’s a picture of Brody eating one of your homemade pop tarts: http://mikeandstaci.blogspot.com/2010/05/yummmmmy.html

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Kayte May 6, 2010 at 8:25 am

Wow, so many people are making these all of a sudden. I never had a Pop Tart until a few years ago when my son requested them to take to an away swim meet b/c they would travel in his bag. I can’t think that it was all that great, but seeing yours, I might just change my mind…yours looks spectacular!

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Amanda May 6, 2010 at 8:30 am

This is amazing, thank you! I have bookmarked it for future use ;) YUM!

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megan May 6, 2010 at 8:42 am

this is awesome! i will have to try this recipe for sure. thanks!

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Ann Hastings May 6, 2010 at 10:09 am

This looks great- you’re amazing, I know Brody LOVED them… Tyler LOVES pop tarts too, so I’ll have to try this out sometime!

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Susie May 6, 2010 at 12:59 pm

THese were/are delicious! For the kid in me, they are great! Definitely worth the calories over the boxed version. Feel free to drop off any of these at my door anytime. They will be eaten. :)

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Sis May 6, 2010 at 9:30 pm

Cool. Look like a good rainy day project.

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Romaine May 6, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Yep, file it with your gingerbread house.

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mike May 6, 2010 at 11:40 pm

I saw these in Bon Appetite a few months ago….. and now that I’ve seen yours, truly have to make them. Yours are exquisite – (that means peachy in toaster-pastry talk). I love the flour variations – and brown sugar is my favorite flavor – pop tarts or cream of wheat or oatmeal (all store-bought, of course)! Beautiful, beautiful!

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Gina May 7, 2010 at 7:33 am

So….last night I had a a dream that I was eating one of your pop tarts…and they were REALLY good! Funny that I’m dreaming about the food on your blog!

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tasteofbeirut May 7, 2010 at 10:04 pm

These pop-tarts are so beautiful, i would want to order them from you! I refuse to buy any commercial ones anyway! Thanks, you made my day: Outstanding work.

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Debbie May 8, 2010 at 7:24 am

I want to be Brody and be on the receiving end. Great pictures. If I only dedicated my time, like you, to cooking… You have the talent girl!

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Katrina May 8, 2010 at 8:29 am

Brilliant, Paula. LOVE it. My boys love Pop Tarts and always beg me to buy them, but I won’t. Now I can’t wait to make these for them! A jam inside would make them fruity, too. (Duh, Katrina.)
Love that they are oaty and more healthy.

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Anne May 11, 2010 at 10:32 am

This looks wonderful! I love that you can choose how big these are what ingredients they contain. My husband would do flips if I made him some of these.

Your soup above looks amazing, by the way!

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tia @ buttercreambarbie May 11, 2010 at 11:27 am

Wow, looks awesome and sounds even better!
I am def going to make these. I love original recipes and this one is a sure winner I’m sure.

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Leslie May 12, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I’m not going to lie. These look so irresistible that I’m NOT going to make them. They wouldn’t be safe from me. Nom nom nom…

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Staci May 17, 2010 at 8:15 am

Finally made a batch last night! I used a (as close to natural as possible when it’s store bought) peach preserve. They turned out yummy!!!!

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Twinkle May 22, 2010 at 5:44 am

omgosh ziplock bags…genius! definitely making these one day! Thanks =)

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lisaiscooking May 22, 2010 at 7:53 am

I’ve been thinking about making homemade pop-tarts for so long, and these look so good! Brown sugar-cinnamon was my favorite flavor, and I love the use of whole wheat flour and oats in your version. Must try!

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susan May 22, 2010 at 11:14 am

i have made pop tarts a few times and i am still trying to perfect. thanks for sharing. they look wonderful!

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Madeline May 22, 2010 at 3:26 pm

These look amazing and delicious! I’ve been trying to stop eating processed foods so this is a perfect way to help!

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heather May 22, 2010 at 5:04 pm

the brown sugar cinnamon pop-tarts were always my favorite growing up. now i won’t touch that blue box with a ten-foot pole, but i’ll definitely make my own! i love the addition of oatmeal. must try.

cheers,

*heather*

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Memoria May 22, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Your pop-tarts look perfect! I love your use of oatmeal and wheat flour. I wouldn’t be able to cut so many Ziploc bags, though. That would kill me to waste so much plastic when we already have a surplus of the stuff on this planet. I could just make this the old-fashioned way and help save the Earth at the same time hahaha. You said you made these many times, so I don’t even want to know how many bags you’ve gone through. Great process photos!

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Romaine May 22, 2010 at 9:00 pm

You are right. You don’t want to know. But honestly, I could not make these without the plastic bags. Because the dough needs to be rolled out fairly thin, they tear easily and are hard to scoop off the cutting board when rolled like a pie crust. It’s tempting to use too much flour to make them work. When using the plastic bags it’s easy to stick back in the freezer whenever the dough gets a little soft. So easy to handle!

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Heather May 22, 2010 at 7:59 pm

If your facts are indeed straight…161 CALORIES?!?! I can enjoy Pop Tarts again!!!! This is so on my hit list of stuff to make.

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Angelynn May 23, 2010 at 5:39 am

These look fabulous and you are a genius for the easy procedure! I can think of loads of good fillings for these. Good work!

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Lori Gladden May 29, 2010 at 10:30 am

I can’t wait to try these this summer with my granddaughters! Thanks so much for sharing.

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Stella June 1, 2010 at 10:27 am

Hey Paula, these are beautiful. I saw them on refrigerator soup and just had to click over to see them.
They have actually inspired me to try a vegan version of them. I would love to link to you as the blogger that inspired them if they work out! Please let me know if that’s okay with you…
Oh, and I love the name Paula. It’s my Mom’s name, and will probably be my first daughter’s name if I ever have one.
Thanks, Stella

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Suzanne June 4, 2010 at 8:20 am

My son loves pop tarts and they are only special treats for vacation and such. He will love to help in the making these I’m sure. How fun to do, thanks.

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Romaine June 5, 2010 at 10:21 am

I can imagine your son will have so much fun baking with you. I can’t wait to do the same with my grandson–when he gets a little older.

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Elaine August 31, 2010 at 1:44 pm

I just mixed up the dough. It is in the freezer along with some slices of cream cheese. I am going to try fillling mine with blackberry preserves and the cheese. Hope they turn out as beautiful as yours!

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steph (whisk/spoon) September 1, 2010 at 5:20 pm

OMG–so good! brown sugar-cinnamon is clearly the best store bought P-T, and I love how you’ve whole grained them! delicious!

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mindy September 19, 2010 at 12:23 pm

I love this. It is so easy to make up in advance and cook up when you want. It is also so much healthier than the “pie crust poptarts” other people have made. I am linking up to this recipe on my blog so I hope you don’t mind. I give you all the props. thank you.

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jackie October 7, 2010 at 8:19 pm

I made these and, oh my were they good. Can’t wait to make them again this weekend.
And they were as easy as they were good :-)

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Kate July 17, 2011 at 2:21 pm

I have to say that I absolutely love these, and so does my 2-year-old! I had to give up store-bought poptarts b/c they aren’t vegetarian, so I was thrilled to find this recipe! I did make a couple of minor changes to use what I had on hand (1 cup whole wheat pastry flour instead of the white whole wheat and oatmeal). Thank you so much for sharing!

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Paula July 19, 2011 at 6:30 am

Hi Kate, Great substitution! Especially if you keep that stuff on hand. Thanks for writing.

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sah July 26, 2011 at 10:59 pm

goin to try this now….wish it comes out as good as yours…shortening resting in the refrigerator lol…..

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Paula July 27, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Hope the pop-tarts turned out well for you. Practice helps.:-). Paula

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Lynne April 15, 2012 at 9:14 am

The ideas you come up with…. WOW

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Joy August 9, 2012 at 9:16 am

Oh my Gosh!!!! I have got to try these . My Mom brought some Pop Tarts home the other day and I almost fell over in shock! We were never allowed to have these as kids and I didn’t buy them for my kids but I liked the brown sugar ones that they made way back when (I don’t know if they even make them nowadays).These are going on my things to make when we are’t going to have a 100 degree day like we are today:-} And thanks for the great roll out idea.

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Paula August 11, 2012 at 8:50 am

Hi Joy,
Yep, too hot to turn on the oven these days. But this would be a great project for this fall.

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Julie September 22, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Ok, I was looking for muffins and stumbled across your strawberry recipe and then this one… These look yummy!! We have not had pop-tarts in years b/c who knows what’s in them…lol! Anyway, I would love to try this recipe when I get a few minutes…and I’m gonna share it on fb now…to prove to my friends, yet again, that I have found the BEST all-around cooking site! Thanks Paula!

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Paula September 23, 2013 at 9:49 am

Julie, you are so kind! The poptarts ARE a little bit of trouble but that makes them a great treat.

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